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A 'Monumental and Historic Moment' in Mass.

A 'Monumental and Historic Moment' in Mass.Tufts graduate Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, saw her hard work pay off on June 14 when the Massachusetts Legislature rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.18.07] Gay marriage advocates scored a major victory in Massachusetts on June 14 when state lawmakers rejected a proposed 2008 ballot initiative that would have given voters the power to ban same-sex marriage in the state. For Tufts graduate and Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus Co-chair Arline Isaacson, it’s a day she won’t soon forget.

“I am euphoric and exhausted,”she told the Berkshire Eagle after lawmakers, in a joint session of the Legislature, voted 151-45 to reject the proposed amendment. In order to make it to the 2008 ballot, the measure would have needed support from at least 50 legislators.

"Legislators in this Statehouse stood very tall," Isaacson told the Associated Press. "They said no to prejudice, they said no to discrimination, they said no to intolerance.”

Isaacson, who earned a degree in French from Tufts in 1978, told The Boston Globe that gay marriage is “fundamentally a labor issue, though most people don’t recognize that.”She added, “Without a marriage license, you can’t access some of the central employment benefits, bread-and-butter benefits.”

A gay rights advocate for 25 years, Isaacson regards the Legislature’s vote as a “monumental and historic moment”for Massachusetts, which in 2004 became the first state to legalize gay marriage. According to Isaacson, the lawmakers’decision also sends a clear message to gay marriage opponents across the United States.

“This was the battleground;our opponents considered this to be ground zero,”she told the Globe.

And a battle it was—right up until the very end. The Globe reported that shortly before the vote, Isaacson was busy at work in her office near the Statehouse preparing “a typewritten master list”of politicians who supported her cause and those whom she hadn’t even tried to lobby. According to the newspaper, there were a fair number of lawmakers who fell into the latter category.

“It’ll be a disaster if this goes to 2008,”she told the Globe before the vote. “The ramifications nationally are so severe for the Dems and the Repubs.”

But lawmakers put Isaacson’s fears to rest later that day when they rejected the amendment. Same-sex marriage opponents cannot again petition for a similar ballot measure until 2010, according to the Boston Herald.

“The (ban proponents) could try it again, but they’d be crazy to do it when we won by this kind of aIsaacson told the Herald.

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